After more than 500 days of delay, the House defeated the House Republican leadership’s weak VAWA substitute by a strong 166-257 margin with 56 Republicans saying no to their leadership and all but two Democrats voting no. The House then passed by a wide margin (286-138) the strong, bipartisan Senate version of VAWA which was supported by the Feminist Majority and scores of women’s rights, civil rights, labor, and domestic violence and sexual assault groups and organizations.
“The House Republican leadership managed to delay reauthorization of VAWA for nearly two years, but in the end after the gender gap victories of 2012 were not able to hold their own troops,” said Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority. “Women’s groups and their allies acted as one and created a massive grassroots lobbying campaign to pass a strong VAWA despite the Republican House leadership opposition. We cannot forget that 138 Republicans and no Democrats voted against final passage of the real VAWA. Nor can we forget those that voted to roll back full protections of VAWA for college students, immigrants, the LGBT community, and Native Americans as well as to weaken of the Office of Violence.”
“Even with the election victories for women’s rights in 2012, outrageously the Republican House leadership was prepared to weaken the Violence against Women Act and even with these victories nearly succeeded in making it a partisan issue,” continued Smeal. “The House GOP leadership’s attempt to gut and politicize VAWA failed and all survivors of violence won.”